This is one of the mister's favorite meals - except for the Brussels sprouts. He ate so many Brussels sprouts while in the Corp that he hates them and has ordered me not to make them. Whatever. I usually serve collard or mustard greens with ham and red-eye gravy, instead of Brussels sprouts, but I didn't have any. I asked the mister to stop at the store on his way home to pick up the greens and he came home empty-handed, said they didn't have any...really? REALLY?!? The mister was with his good friend Jack when I called so I'm pretty sure Jack told him to just tell me that so he wouldn't have to stop...because Safeway ALWAYS has greens...nobody eats them but US! Well...you know me, I'm nothing if not fair and balanced...so a punishment was in order...out came the Brussels sprouts!
Even with Brussels sprouts on his plate, the mister hardly had anything to complain about because like I said, this is one of his favorite meals. The ham is slightly browned with some shallots and then the red-eye gravy is made in the same pan. If you've never eaten red-eye gravy, you might be disappointed to learn it is nothing like real gravy...it's thin and watery and is more of a glaze, than gravy. But it's dang good. And it's made with coffee. Strong coffee. But, it has absolutely NO coffee taste - what it does have is a rich deep flavor that will knock your waders off! And, as we all know, the caffeine gets cooked out...right?!?
This meal is Southern comfort food and it's about as Southern as it gets...which is why the mister is such a fan - it puts him in touch with this roots...takes him back to the tobacco fields, crabbin' on the Chesapeake, mowing lawns on the plantation and his alter ego...Frankly, my dear, I don't give a Damn! Oh wait, he's no Rhett Butler and I'm no Scarlett-As-God-Is-My-Witness-I'll-Never-Be-Hungry-Again-O'Hara...but when we eat this kind of food we sort of feel like we are...Fiddledee-dee!
If you have collard or mustard greens, rustle them up and serve them along side the ham and black-eyed peas - they're great and the greens will absorb some of the red-eye gravy for a rather mmmmmm-mmmmm-good-experience. If you don't have greens, because your store doesn't have any (riiiiiight!) then Brussels sprouts make a great replacement, especially when they're cooked in this delicious sweet and sour elixir -even the mister, who hates Brussels sprouts, ate them...and then ate some more!
Ham With Red-Eye Gravy and Black-Eyed Peas - Inspired by Bon Appetit
(Brussels Sprouts recipe below)
4 slices country ham
1 to 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup strong black coffee or espresso
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup or honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cans (15 oz.) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
Brussels Sprouts - Pots and Pins
3 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, rinsed and cut in half
2 teaspoons bacon grease or butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
To make Ham and Red-Eye Gravy: In a large skillet over medium-high heat add vegetable oil, ham and shallots. Saute until ham is slightly browned on both sides and shallots are soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in coffee, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add broth, syrup or honey and vinegar; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half and sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 20 minutes. Add black-eyed peas to the pan, bring heat up to medium and cook until peas are heated through.
To make Brussels Sprouts: In a large skillet, heat bacon grease or butter until hot, add Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Cook over medium-high heat until Brussels sprouts are browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken stock, sugar, chili flakes and vinegar. Reduce heat to medium and cook for an additional 6 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are fork tender. Remove from pan with a slotten spoon, discard the liquid.
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Three years ago: Orange and Brown Butter Tart
Four years ago: Buttermilk Oatmeal Scones